Okay I know a lot of you (Ling) didn't like my lame April Fool's joke, but I decided we couldn't have an April 1st without a lame 'Doom 3 Canceled/Released' joke. It's like Christmas without your uncle getting drunk and hitting on your mom. Which wouldn't be so bad if she wasn't his sister. Anyway, as a peace offering I've done this week's newstuff, and we have a pretty nice haul of maps to check out, ranging from good to bad to useless, so click on that little thing that says '(more)' and we'll get started.
Black Gloves for the Doomguy - Grimm
Doom/2 - n/a - 102k -
From the magical world of color shifting comes some modified Doom2 HUD weapon sprites which have black gloves instead of the regular world of brown gloves. They look nice enough, but there's not much more to it than that, though there is an oddity in the text file I feel the need to point out in a fit of pretentiousness:
I made 'em all from scratch by modifying the regular gloves.
Well now, Mr. Grimm, if you modified the regular gloves then that doesn't make them from scratch now, does it?! Yeah I didn't think so. The zip also includes a pair of red gloves which look fucking awful to say the least.
The Abandoned City - DooMBoy
Limit Removing/Heretic - SP - 240k -
I'm going to be blunt with you right off the bat. I don't like Heretic. It's boring and cartoony looking and the barrels don't explode. No sir, that's not game for me where barrels don't explode. That said I tried to play this map with an unbiased viewpoint. This map, while by no means horrible (it has a consistent theme, decent gameplay and balance) is pretty dull and boring architecture-wise in that classic Doomboy style where no lines are less than 32 units long and everything except a few slanted lines here and there are at 90 degree angles (square power!). The map starts and ends quite nicely, but in between it's just big tall rooms with no detail and what seems like random smoothed lighting. On top of that the entire premise of the map is random switch hitting to collect three keys. Also despite the fact that you don't need any keys until the very end of the map, it's still very linear, all but forcing you to run the map in a specific order. Still, Heretic maps are few and far between, so if you're starved for Heretic maps then look no further. As for the rest of you, well, don't go insane trying to get it.
Entrapment - P.Westlake
doom2.exe - SP - 102k -
Given the small filesize I wasn't really expecting this map to be all that great (don't ask me why I thought that, the filesize isn't really that small) but I was pleasantly surprised. Here, folks, we have an excellent example of how to make a stellar vanilla Doom map (though I played it in ZDoom, but the text file says it's designed for vanilla). The map has just the right amount of detail, with some not only excellent architecture, but some great smoothed lighting as well. I really like the overall look of the map, even though I'm not overly partial to tech base themed maps. The gameplay is pretty tough as there's not an abundance of health (along with a good amount of hitscan enemies to boot) there's plenty of ammo so as long as you don't try any crazy Rambo moves you should be okay. Another thing I though was great were how the traps were so finely tuned. Every time you hit a switch or grab a key you'll usually have new monsters breathing down your neck, so there's never a dull moment. Good times were had by all. Overall this is a great map and well worth its weight in internet money. Give it a play.
GrahamK.wad - Graham Keith
doom.exe - SP - 90k -
If you always wanted to play a dull looking wad with zero detail but somewhat decent gameplay, then look no further, because this is the wad for you! Now I personally don't really like playing levels unless they look good, so naturally I wasn't too happy when I had to play this. Every room is bare and annoying with no semblance of anything even resembling detail anywhere. The gameplay is inconsistent at best; really easy sometimes and quite hard others, though you'll never really be strapped for health. Not to be too much of a jerkass, the author does show potential for the future, I guess, since, if anything, the layout of the maps (there are two, E1M1 and E1M2) is pretty interesting. But we're not in the future, we're in now, and in the now I say that you shouldn't bother with this one.
Dead In 60 Seconds - Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal
Limit Removing - SP - 143k -
When I saw the title of this levelset (five maps) I was going to go on about Gone in 60 Seconds which is one of my favorite movies, but then I realized that the maps are actually good so I couldn't go off on a stupid tangent. But then I just did, so screw it. Anyway, DISS (that's what I'm calling it) is a set of five maps that were all made in forty minutes or less, speedmapping style. As such the maps are all very short (you can probably finish them in under two or three minutes with practice) but also very hard, as seems to be the Kaiser style. In fact, if I were asked to compare these levels to levels that existed prior to the existence of these levels, I would have to compare them to Scythe. In fact it's so much like Scythe you might even want to call this Scythe Jr (which is quicker to say and type than 'Dead In 60 Seconds'). Also, unlike certain other wads with 'Jr' appended to the end (insert throat clearing noise), these levels aren't awful beyond belief. Worth a looksee, even if they'll only give you around a half hour of entertainment (or frustration if you suck at Doom), if even that.
DooM Party R n' R v1.0 - MasterOFDeath
ZDoom - Co-op - 192k -
Every once in a while a really innovative wad comes along. This is not one of them. The premise is to 'hang out' with your other Doom buddies in this map which is uh, well kinda stupid. The sole saving grace of this map is the bar fight you can get into (with a scripted marine), but even that doesn't make it worth downloading. Skip.
RetroPack - Michael T. Cole (ShadowRunner)
doom.exe - SP - 79k -
Why in god's name does this zip file contain three wads and three text files. You have Wintex. You have three wads. FIX IT. That aside this zip contains 'retro versions' of E1M1, E2M1 and E3M1 each replacing, uh, the level they mimic. By the way I'm not quite sure how you can make 'retro versions' of those maps seeing as how you can't get much more retro than the originals, but I digress. Anyways, the maps all come across as super deformed versions of the originals, which is weird to say the least. They're actually worse than the originals (which is hard to do with E3M1), and as such not really worth playing. Don't bother.
Right Scroll - Andrew Stine
Anything that doesn't unpack sidedefs - n/a - 4k
This is a small demo map featuring a brand new trick 'discovered' by Ling, Jon 'Nonick' Rimmer and myself recently. The technical premise behind it is that when you pack sidedefs Doom will increment a sidedef's x offset for every scroll special linedef that references that sidedef. The net result is you can actually control the speed and direction of scrolling lines in doom2.exe allowing you to make rather impressive 'movies' as well as textures that scroll to the right. Any port that unpacks sidedefs upon level load (ZDoom may be the only one?) will break this trick, but the important thing is it works in doom2.exe, right?!
Sedna 1 - Paul Corfiatis
Boom - SP - 149k -
One thing I really can't stand in levels is an inconsistent theme, and Sedna 1 smacks of that. I honestly have no clue what kind of map this is. It starts off green brick and then randomly and abruptly shifts to tech, then base, then hell, then brick, then base again, then there's a few areas that have no discernable theme at all and just seem to be some random mix of flats and textures. While that might be all well and good for some of you, I can't freaking stand that and those types of glaring jumps really irk me. Just thought I'd point that out. As a whole the map isn't bad at all, though it's nothing spectacular. There's not an excessive amount of detail, but for the most part there's enough so that it doesn't look empty. The difficulty is pretty high, I had problems in various places including being forced to punch four cacodemons to death (with berserk, thankfully) and there are some major cramping issues to deal with as a lot of times you're forced to fight in some very tight quarters. Overall a decent map, though you might want to skip it if you're not a fan of fighting in small spaces and people who hate random themes might also want to take similar actions.
Tormuse.wad - Graham Keith
doom.exe - SP - 71k -
This is by the same author of GrahamK.wad and the consensus is pretty similar; map without a consistent theme and underdetailed bare rooms. However I will say that I really liked the layout of the first map (there are two, replacing E2M1 and E2M2), it was quite interesting and I think if you can look past how ugly and underdetailed the map is you will probably enjoy it. The second map is more of the same, though I thought the start area was really cool. I got stuck in the weird lift room in the second map though, and I decided I didn't care enough to figure out how to get out of there, so I stopped playing. I think once the author learns about detailing and smoothed lighting he'll become a very capable author and will produce some top quality stuff. As for this wad, well, outside of the few merits I mentioned, it's probably not worth your time.
The CodeImp Realm - Pascal vd Heiden
Skulltag - CTF - 168k -
When I first loaded up this map in single player I didn't think it would play overly well because the layout was kind of confusing and I kept taking wrong turns because lots of spots look similar. Of course judging a map meant for multiplayer solely in solo-play is just dumb, so I found a couple Skulltag monkeys and we played a few rounds. My consensus after that, it's a pretty fun map. As is often the case with CTF maps it's really just half a map copied and rotated 180 degrees, but of course that sort of thing often works for CTF maps, so I won't hold it against CodeImp. The bases have a little pool of red or blue colored water with the flag in it that kills you if you drop in there. Hitting a switch will allow you to grab the flag and haul ass back to your base. There are a couple paths you can take to get there, including a very impatient lift, or some magical doors (it's like the supermarket!). Weapon balance is spot on, and the map is big enough that one person with a single weapon can't dominate it. Lookswise, well, no complaints here as it looks very nice. Actually it really reminds me of some of the maps in UT, only browner. Overall, good stuff and if you're a fan of Skulltag you'll definitely want to grab this.